Easy No-Sew Cindy Lou Who DIY for Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood

littlegraytrhead cindy lou who

The Snowflake has landed in Universal Studios Hollywood and has brought back our friends from Who-ville, new and old!  “Grinchmas” is included with park admission and runs daily from November 28 through Sunday December 29.  To prepare, I made this super easy Cindy Lou Who headband.

Supplies:

  • Headband
  • Red and White pom poms
  • pipe cleaner for ribbons
  • White fleece or felt cut into 4 ovals
  • stuffing like cotton balls or fiberfill
  • glue gun

cindy lou who supplies

Measure a couple centimeters above the ear and mark with a pen.  Glue gun the circles together and stuff with stuffing.  Glue ovals to headband letting the bottom hang over the ears.  Glue the pom poms onto the headband.

Add as many ribbon details as you like!  I chose pipe cleaner so the bow will stand up.

cindy lou who headband

I pieced together the Cindy Lou Who costume with a red gingham dress and a red half circle cape.  You can even use a red tree skirt and attach ribbons to the collar!

 

The Martha May Santa costume was purchased from Target.  It’s super sparkly and over the top, just like Martha May Whovier!

littlegraythread cindy lou who martha

What’s New at Grinchmas Universal Studios Hollywood

New this year is the all-new, state-of-the-art, topsy-turvy “Grinchmas” tree that twists and turns over 55 feet in height. The custom-made tree is adorned with hundreds of ornaments and thousands of sparkling LED lights and choreographed to music to brighten the merry “Grinchmas” Who-lebration.

Dazzling “Grinchmas” tree lighting ceremonies that take place every evening, accompanied by a snowfall flurry, bring this annual favorite to life, creating a festival of fun fit for The Grinch, his faithful dog Max and a roster of Who-ville Whos (Pro tip:  Line up at the main Whoville entry gate a half hour before the tree lighting to enter.  First tree lighting happens at 5:30 and occurs every half hour).  There are some new Whos visiting Hollywood for the first time!

grinchmas djs

Tips on Meeting Characters

grinch and dj

Of course, meeting the Grinch himself is a must-do if you visit Whoville.  Lines can be extremely long, especially during peak season, but there are several things to do with minimal lines or no lines at all!

  • Meet Max the Dog–he’s a real animal actor!

grinchmas max

  • Many Whos roam around and do not have lines.  Be prepared to play!  We also met Cindy Lou Who who was roaming around and did not have a line.
  • Check out the cute Grinch decor like this Grinch snowman

grinch snowman

  • Write ways how your heart grew 3 sizes

heart growing writing

  • Eat all the Who Foods!  This Grinch Donut was available in the Whoville area and was a steal at only $7.99.  The Whoville Who Hash (tator tots, corned beef, cream of mushroom soup, onions and peppers) was found at the quick service restaurant “Hollwood and Dime” for around $10 and came with the take home can.

 

Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will also transform for the Holiday season.

Christmas at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

  • Seasonal decor to each storefront and a light projection spectacular to bring the the iconic Hogwarts™ castle to life.
  • As night falls on Hogsmeade village, “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts™ Castle” illuminates Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with colorful imagery and impressive dimensional animations that dance across Hogwarts castle in tandem to a musical arrangement from the Harry Potter movies.
  • Holiday themed songs from the a cappella Frog Choir
  • A wide selection of custom-made Christmas ornaments created especially for “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” will be available. Collectibles include a decorative Hogwarts castle snow globe, Hogwarts crest and mascot ornaments representing each of the four houses, wizard card ornaments, unique tree topper and house pennant garland.
  • Holiday-themed fare and hot Butterbeer further complement the overall experience.

With so much to see and do at Universal Studios Hollywood, the California Neighbor Pass makes the perfect holiday gift, providing guests with the opportunity to experience 175 days of fun for $149 when purchased online. Visit www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com for more details. Blackout dates and restrictions apply.

littlegraythread grinchmas

More information is available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com. Like Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook and follow @UniStudios on Instagram and Twitter.

Admission to Universal CityWalk is free. More information available at www.CityWalkHollywood.com.

Blue Man Group is Coming to Orange County Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Kids can go for FREE on Select Days

Blue-Man-Group-2019-3

BLUE MAN GROUP is making it’s way to Segerstrom Center of the Arts in Orange County January 7 – 12, 2020!  This would make an excellent Holiday gift especially for families who are focusing more on experience based gifts instead of physical gifts.

Kids Night on Broadway–Kids ticket for FREE!

A special Kids Night on Broadway discount will be offered for two performances January 7 and 8. With the purchase of one full-price ticket, parents can receive a second ticket FREE for children. Ticket prices start at $26. Use code BLUEKID when purchasing. Children and families are also encouraged to arrive early and enjoy pre-show activities in the Segerstrom Hall lobby beginning at 6:00 p.m., including coloring stations, crafts, activities, photo opportunities and more!

Blue Man Group

More than 35 million people around the world have experienced the smash hit phenomenon that is BLUE MAN GROUP, and the world renowned bald and blue trio are back on the road in a new North American tour. Under the helm of visionary director Jenny Koons, in her first-time collaboration with BLUE MAN GROUP, the tour features everything audiences know and love about BLUE MAN GROUP—signature drumming, colorful moments of creativity and quirky comedy—the men are still blue, but the rest is all new! Including pulsing, original music, custom-made instruments, surprise audience interaction and hilarious absurdity, audiences join the Blue Men in a joyful experience that unites audiences of all ages.

Tickets to BLUE MAN GROUP start at $26 and can be purchased at SCFTA.org, by calling (714) 556-2787 and at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. To take advantage of the Kids Night opportunity, use promo code BLUEKID. For inquiries about group ticket savings for 10 or more, please call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236. The 2:00 p.m. performance on Saturday, January 11 will include audio description, open captioning and sign-language interpretation. The Center offers many services for patrons with disabilities including removable wheelchair locations, binoculars and assistive listening devices. To learn more visit SCFTA.org/accessibilityinformation.

Fans can keep up with the Blue Man Group Tour through:

Twitter:        https://twitter.com/bluemangroup
Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/bluemangroup
Instagram:   https://www.instagram.com/bluemangroup/
YouTube:     https://www.youtube.com/bluemangroup

How to Enjoy Knott’s Merry Farm for FREE–the Christmas Crafts Village

That’s right.  You you read it.  You can get into Knott’s Berry Farm for FREE on select days to experience the Christmas Crafts Village in Ghost Town.  This is one of the best kept secrets and it’s actually how I first started visiting Knott’s 5 years ago before I had a pass.  The dates for FREE Ghost Town Admission for 2019 are December 2-5 and December 9-12.

IMG_1233

The Christmas Crafts Village is a shopping wonderland where local artisans sell their unique gifts in pop up kiosks in the Ghost Town section of Knott’s Berry Farm.  Many of these artist have been part of the Christmas Crafts Village for years and it has become part of our family traditions to peruse their shops.  The girls love the handmade beaded necklaces and sand dragons, and we always make a point to stop to say hi to Miss Doolittle and “Mama” (they are set up right outside of the saloon, so be sure to stop by!).

Admission is FREE to visit the Ghost Town area, which also means you have free access to everything within Calico.  This also encompasses Santa’s cottage where you can meet Santa, take your own photos with him or purchase a photo package, and indulge in some of the Holiday food offerings.

Here are some of my favorite attractions in Calico (show times are subject to change):

  • Calico Carolers Bell Ringers (sets are 12:30, 1:30, 3:00, 4:00)
  • Calico Saloon Show (11, 12:30, 2, 3:30, 4:30)
  • Wild West Stunt Show (12:30, 2, 4)
  • Snow and Glow (6:30, 7:30, 8:30)
  • Tree Lighting (5:15)–this happens just beyond the gates of Calico, but you can still see it!
  • Visit the School House
  • Cookie Decorating near Santa’s Cabin (extra fee)
  • Paint and Take Pottery (extra fee)

Foods and Restaurants:  Definitely take advantage of the Holiday food offerings right outside of Santa’s Cabin (I wrote an entire article just about food)–the turkey dinner bites are my favorite and are a steal at 2 for $5.99.  When you visit Santa, you’ll be greeted by the smell of a freshly baked cookie, which is served with milk for $3.50.  Other seasonal food items are the fried green beans from Calico Fry Company (by the Stunt Show), Mac n Cheese Lorraine from Wagon Wheel Pizza (by Ghostrider exit) and the Holiday White Pizza and Apple Dessert Pizza Beachy Keen’s and Wagon Wheel Pizza.

Outside the park, you can pick up a gourmet Dough-Knott from the bakery right before the security clearance.  Right next door at Cable Car Kitchen, you can get all FOUR seasonal funnel cakes with scooped ice cream (side note:  this is the only place you can get scooped ice cream–all the other vendors inside the park are soft serve).  You can also take home Mrs. Knott’s famous fried chicken at Chicken to Go, or make reservations at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner restaurant for a sit-down experience.

Christmas Craft Village free entry days are Monday through Thursday, December 2-5 and December 9-12.  Admission is required for all other days.  To enter, go to the side of the entrance near the Starbucks.  On-site parking is available for $20, or short term MarketPlace parking is complimentary for up to 1 hour.  Each additional half hour or portion is $10 each with a maximum daily charge of $30. All lost tickets will be charged $30. An additional 2 hours of free parking is available with a validated ticket and receipt showing a $19 or more minimum purchase from any California MarketPlace restaurant or shop.  In sum, you can enjoy 3 hours of free MarketPlace parking if you spend $19 at one of the shops or restaurantsMore information about the Christmas Craft Village can be found here.  You can also view a highlight reel of our Knotts adventures on Instagram @littlegraythread.

Winter Fest OC Returns to the Oc Fairgrounds December 19 through January 5

IMG_7869

Winter Fest OC, Southern California’s favorite annual holiday tradition, returns to the OC Fair & Event Center, December 19th through January 5th. Featuring more attractions and live entertainment than before, the Orange County Fairgrounds transforms into a massive winter wonderland offering fun for all ages. This year, Winter Fest OC will feature the “World’s Largest Candy Maze”, all-new Winter Fest Racing Pigs, skating under the stars in a reimagined ice rink with two interactive islands, a new 50-foot walk-through Tree of Dreams Christmas tree, expanded daily entertainment from popular children’s cartoon characters to the all-new Winter Fest after Dark nightly series with tribute bands and DJs, plus new party and event suites available for private rental.

What’s New for 2019

IMG_7812

World’s Largest Candy Maze inside Yowie’s Sweet Shoppe  Featuring more sweets than a chocolate factory, navigate through the World’s Largest Candy Maze, filling your basket with nostalgic candy from decades ago to today’s favorites!

Winter Fest Racing Pigs  Nothing is more jolly than cheering on your favorite baby piglet as they race to the finish line wearing holiday sweaters. Get your seat early in the all-new Winter Fest Racing Pig stadium with shows daily.

Outdoor Ice Skating – Enjoy skating under the stars in the center of a winter wonderland on the redesigned ice rink with two interactive islands, surrounded by winter décor and lights, adjacent to the new 50-foot Tree of Dreams walk-through Christmas tree.

Winter Fest After Dark: Hussong’s Cantina & Restaurant – Each night at 6 p.m., the all new Winter Fest After Dark comes alive with live music, dancing, drink specials and more. Guests can dance into the night with the same popular bands as the annual OC Fair in the Hussong’s Cantina & Restaurant with live performances by DJ Manny Fresco and the La Nueva Deligencia.

Winter Fest After Dark: Hangar Stage – Each night at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., many of Southern California’s most popular live tribute bands will take the stage. Performances include tribute bands such as Escape, a tribute to Journey; Queen Nation, a tribute to Queen; Rumours, a tribute to Fleetwood Mac; Fast Times and Flashback Heart Attack, 80’s cover bands; Earth to Mars, a tribute to Bruno Mars, and so many more. Plus, the Morgan Leigh Band will be bringing country music favorites and additional bands will be announced soon. An Elton John tribute show featuring “Kenny Metcalf as Elton” and a tribute to ABBA by ABBA LA will ring in 2020 during Winter Fest OC’s New Year’s Eve celebrations at both 6 p.m. and midnight.

Tree Lighting Ceremony – Winter Fest OC will unveil an all-new 50-foot Tree of Dreams Christmas tree, and a new nightly celebration with fireworks and snow flurries, illuminating the holiday spirit at 5:30 p.m. daily.

Live Cartoon Character Shows and Meet & Greets – Offering fun for all ages, guests can experience live cartoon character shows with meet & greets from Thomas the Train, Paw Patrol, PJ Mask, Peppa Pig and many more.

SoCal Dickens LondonTowne – All the best of Victorian England is brought to life in SoCal Dickens LondonTowne where historical figures and fictional characters walk side by side. Mr. Charles Dickens can be seen in the High Street shops, where artisanal and one of a kind gifts abound. A little girl named Alice, hurries to have afternoon tea at the Tea Shoppe, while Mr. Scrooge glares cynically at the actors and musicians performing authentic Victorian entertainment. The delicious smell of Victorian fare, such as fish and chips, meat pies, rum cakes, and sticky pudding tempt patrons to linger, while the elite come out nightly to dance and sample fine absinthe or enjoy an authentic British style beer. London of old is calling… bring your imagination and partake in the festivities!

Expanded Private Party Suites – Yowie’s Sweet Shoppe Party Room and the Hangar Stage VIP Suites feature all-new private party spaces, where guests can host their ultimate winter wonderland themed celebrations. Ideal for birthday parties, company gatherings and much more, suites and party spaces can accommodate up to 200 people and start at only $199.

Tickets and Passes

IMG_7683

 

Winter Fest OC tickets are available now at WinterFestOC.com, including general admission tickets starting at only $10, platinum passes starting at $40, and early bird season passes valid for all 18 days starting at $18 for a limited time. Plus, reserve your private party space now, while dates and times last.

Buy your tickets ahead of time at WinterFestOC.com because prices are higher at the gate.

  • Weekdays:  Child (3-12) $13 online, $20 onsite; Adults $18 online, $25 onsite
  • Weekends and Holidays:  Child (3-12) $15 online, $20 onsite; Adults $19 online, $25 onsite
  • Opening Hours Deals:  $10 tickets available online, must enter within first operating hour of the day
  • Extras:
    • Snowflake Summit Ice Tubing Pass:  $10 online ($15 onsite)
    • Ice Skating 45 minute session:  $15
    • Unlimited Ride wristband:  $20 ($25 onsite)

Discounts will be offered on select days to honor our community heroes; First Responders, Nurses, Teachers, and Military/Veterans with proof of ID.  Group discounts are also available for groups of 4 or more.

IMG_7680

For more information on Winter Fest OC, visit www.WinterFestOC.com and for the latest updates on ticket promotions, entertainment, food and fun, follow us on Facebook, InstagramTwitter, and YouTube or with #WinterFestOC.

The Magical Chinese Lantern Festival Returns to Light the Night at the Pomona Fairplex

3

This November, the Chinese Lantern Festival returns for the holiday season to the Pomona Fairplex with its brand-new illuminated production themed “Blooming Seasons”.  Bigger and brighter stunning lanterns, up to 30 feet high, include an 85-foot-wide lantern arch, 100-yard-long breathtaking Ceramic Chinese Dragon, along with ridable “mythical creatures” children’s rides — all  on display from the Glade to Lagoon at Fairplex Pomona (1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona, CA 91768) from Thursday, November 21 – Sunday, January 5, 2020. 

lantern-bottom-1

“New for this year, guests will experience a unique light display inspired by nature,” says George Zhao, producer of the Chinese Lantern Festival. “Guests will journey deep into a vast wonderland from exotic flowers, trees, plants, insects, mammals to reptiles. It’s the four seasons of nature, plus an assortment of animals that correspond to their given environment.”

4

Inspired by the art of Chinese lantern making, dating back 2,000 years ago, guests will experience a vibrant light show with mixed-media lanterns. Throughout the hillside, brilliant lanterns depicting the Amazon Jungle, fruit tree groves, peach blossoms, maple leaves, poppies, cactuses, squirrels, foxes, and more.  

IMG_20191102_172921

Each lantern is made of modern materials and eco-friendly technology with brilliantly-lit colored LED lightbulbs, musical enhancements and sound effects, plus visual moving parts to create larger-than-life imaginative shapes.  

The Magical Chinese Lantern Festival will also feature:

  • Mythical creature rides for children 
  • Food and concessions 
  • Authentic live Chinese folk musical concert and traditional dance show  
  • Holiday displays, including your photo taken with lantern Santa Claus
  • Folk art souvenir booths

600x500-clf-lax-2019-v2

Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate at www.ChineseLanternFestival.com for $13-$27. 

Gates open from 5:30 p.m.–10:00 p.m. with the last admission at 9:20 p.m.  Fairplex parking is $12. Follow along at @ChineseLanternFest on Instagram, Facebook.com/chineselanternfestival and #ChineseLanternFestival

 

Magical Chinese Lantern Festival by Hanart Culture
Thursdays – Sundays from November 21- December 15, 2019 

Nightly December 19, 2019 -January 5, 2020, Including Holidays
5:30pm-10:00pm 

Fairplex at Pomona – 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona, CA 91768

Tickets $13-$21
https://www.chineselanternfestival.com/ 

 

Disney on Ice Mickey’s Search Party: Coming soon to Los Angeles and Orange County

Disney_On_Ice_D35_Final_Edit

Create unforgettable memories and become part of the story when Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party comes to Southern California this holiday season!  This brand-new immersive ice skating experience brings the magic closer to fans than ever before through engaging elements that take place on the ice, in the air and in the seats, as performer athleticism mixes with acrobatic and aerial stunts to bring skating skills to new heights.  An exciting participatory adventure told through multi-leveled performances that immerse fans into the fantastic worlds of Disney-Pixar’s Coco, Frozen, Moana, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Toy Story and The Little Mermaid, this all-new show will be skating into the Southland playing L.A, Anaheim, Long Beach and Ontario from December 12th – January 5th!

D35_Feld_Disney_2018_V13

In Mickey’s Search Party, you will see seven main stories:

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Toy Story
  • Moana
  • Coco
  • Aladdin
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Frozen

There is a brief 20 minute intermission in between Coco and Aladdin.  In between main numbers, you’ll see Mickey and friends on a quest with the Neverland Pirates and Captain Hook!

1906277-D35-LA_Area-flyer_MOM_ENG-425608

Embark on a quest with Mickey Mouse and pals as they follow Captain Hook’s treasure map for clues to find Tinker Bell after he attempts to capture her magic.  Journey across the Marigold Bridge with Miguel from DisneyPixar’s Coco into the magnificent and mystical Land of the Dead and discover a vibrantly colorful performance with skeletons atop sway poles dancing over the audience in a beautiful cultural celebration of family.  Travel to the wintry world of Arendelle and sing along with Elsa as video projection creates a kaleidoscope of crystals to help build her ice palace. Witness Belle lift into the sky as the enchanted chandelier comes to life high over the ice for onlookers seated above and below.  Board the Jolly Roger and laugh hysterically as the hilarious pirates flip, tumble, and twist on air tracks, stilts and more in an effort to showcase their talents for Captain Hook. Sail away with Moana on her daring voyage across the ocean and bravely encounter the fiery wrath of Te Ka.   And make memories with your whole family during Aladdin, Toy Story and The Little Mermaid as the search party becomes an all-out magical celebration!

D35_20180810_00302_Edit(1)

Know Before You Go

Many venues have adopted Clear Bag Policies.  Here are the new Clear Bag Regulations for the Honda Center.

Honda Center Bag Policy

Merch Alert!  Disney on Ice is known for the iconic light up toys and souvenir snow cone cups.  Here are a couple options so you can plan accordingly.  They also have vendors walk around so you can purchase them at your seat, but these vendors are cash only.  You can use a credit card if you visit the merchandise booths.

L O S   A N G E L E S

WHEN: Thursday, December 12 – Sunday, December 15

    • Thursday, December 12 7:30 PM
    • Friday, December 13 7:30 PM
    • Saturday, December 14 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Sunday, December 15 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM

WHERE: STAPLES Center 1111 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015

TICKETS: Ticket prices start at $15!

Discount Opening Night tickets available for as low as $16 each on select seating (not valid for premium VIP/Front Row seating)  

Tickets available for purchase online at AXS.com, charge by phone at 888-9AXS-TIX or in-person at the venue Box Office.

*prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

 

A N A H E I M

WHEN: Thursday, December 19 – Monday, December 23

    • Thursday, December 19 7:00 PM
    • Friday, December 20 11:00 AM & 7:00 PM
    • Saturday, December 21 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Sunday, December 22 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Monday, December 23 11:00 AM & 7:00 PM

WHERE: Honda Center – 2695 E. Katella Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92806

TICKETS: Ticket prices start at $15!

Discount Opening Night tickets available for as low as $16 each on select seating (not valid for premium VIP/Front Row seating)  

Tickets available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com or in-person at the venue Box Office.

*prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

 

L O N G   B E A C H

WHEN: Thursday, December 26 – Monday, December 30

    • Thursday, December 26 7:00 PM
    • Friday, December 27 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Saturday, December 28 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Sunday, December 29 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Monday, December 30 7:00 PM

WHERE: Long Beach Arena 300 E. Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802

TICKETS: Ticket prices start at $15!

Discount Opening Night tickets available for as low as $16 each on select seating (not valid for premium VIP/Front Row seating)  

Tickets available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com or in-person at the venue Box Office.

*prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

 

O N T A R I O

WHEN: Wednesday, January 1 – Sunday, January 5

    • Wednesday, January 1 7:00 PM
    • Thursday, January 2 7:00 PM
    • Friday, January 3 7:00 PM
    • Saturday, January 4 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
    • Sunday, January 5 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM

WHERE: Toyota Arena4000 Ontario Center Parkway, Ontario, CA 91764

(formerly Citizens Business Bank Arena)

TICKETS: Ticket prices start at $15!

Discount Opening Night tickets available for as low as $16 each on select seating (not valid for premium VIP/Front Row seating)  

Tickets available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com or in-person at the venue Box Office.

*prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

Disney on Ice 2019 LittleGrayThread

To discover more about Disney On Ice, visit www.DisneyOnIce.com or follow on these social media platforms:

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/DisneyOnIce

Twitter: @DisneyOnIce #DisneyOnIce #MickeysSearchParty

YouTube: www.youtube.com/DisneyOnIce

Instagram: @DisneyOnIce

 

Holiday Shows coming to Segerstrom Center of the Arts

ABT-Nutcracker-MistyCopeland-and-DaniilSimkin-@DougGifford-2017

Can you believe the Holidays are right around the corner?  It doesn’t feel like Christmas without taking in a live performance like the Nutcracker or Mannheim Steamroller.  I’m a huge fan of gifting experiences instead of physical presents, so tickets to a Holiday show at Segerstrom Center of the Arts is a great idea!  I love creating new family traditions and the kids look forward to revisiting things year after year.  There are so many options for Holiday shows right in our backyard!

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is pleased to announce a thrilling roster of performances and events that celebrate the holiday season.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
December 1, 2019 | Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
Segerstrom Hall. Tickets start at $59.

Mannheim-credit-MattChristinePhotography_0003

Join the celebration as Mannheim Steamroller makes history again – celebrating 35 years of holiday magic as they bring their annual holiday tour to fans throughout the country. Experience the performance of the #1 Christmas music artist in history and, for the first time ever, hear the entire album that started it all, LIVE – “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas!”

Dixie’s Tupperware Party
December 4 – 8, 2019 | Wednesday – Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday 2:00 and 7:00 p.m.; Sunday at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m.
Samueli Theater. Tickets start at $39.

Dixie-Square-(1)

Lift your spirits and perhaps even get some holiday shopping done with Dixie’s Tupperware Party. Dixie Longate, the fast-talking Tupperware Lady, returns for good ol’-fashioned Tupperware parties filled with outrageously funny tales, FREE giveaways and the most fabulous assortment of Tupperware ever sold on a theater stage!

American Ballet Theatre: The Nutcracker
December 13 – 22, 2019 | Wednesday – Friday at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m.; Sunday at 12:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Segerstrom Hall. Tickets start at $29.

ABT-The-Nutcracker-Snowflakes-Photo-by-Gene-Schiavone_1

American Ballet Theatre’s sumptuous production of The Nutcracker is Orange County’s must-see holiday tradition. Once again, audiences will be thrilled by ABT’s incomparable dancers and delighted with Alexei Ratmansky’s “cinematic creation” (Orange County Register). As the ballet unfolds to Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, accomplished young students from Segerstrom Center’s American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School appear alongside ABT’s internationally acclaimed dancers to tell this family favorite tale.

Fiesta Navidad Mariachi Los Camperos
December 19, 2019 | Thursday at 8:00 p.m.
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Tickets start at $29.

FiestaNavidad1617_615x400

Join us for one of Orange County’s most beloved annual holiday traditions as the Grammy Award®-winning Mariachi Los Camperos returns to Segerstrom Center with Fiesta Navidad. Filled with music and dance, this colorful celebration of Mexican holiday traditions is perfect for the whole family.

Spanish Harlem Orchestra: Salsa Navidad
December 21, 2019 | Saturday at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m.
Samueli Theater. Tickets start at $39.

HarlemOrchestra1920_615x400

Celebrate the winter holidays with the Segerstrom Center debut of the two-time Grammy®-winning Salsa and Latin Jazz band that will make you want to stand up and dance. It simply doesn’t get any better when this Latin jazz powerhouse exudes energy on stage with musical precision that captivates audiences until the last note is played.

Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert
December 28, 2019 | Saturday at 8:00 p.m.
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Tickets start at $49.

SaluteToVienna1920_615x400

Ring in the New Year with a glittery celebration of singing and dancing that will delight the senses. Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert recreates the beauty of Vienna’s golden era and its elegance charms audiences of every age. This year’s concert will feature a brilliant new program of Strauss Waltzes and sweeping melodies from beloved operettas performed by acclaimed European singers, champion ballroom dancers, the National Ballet of Hungary and the Strauss Symphony of America.

Tickets and Gift Certificates

To help take the stress out of year-round gift giving, the Center offers gift certificates that can be used for any of the many wonderful shows and performances. Gift certificates can be purchased through the Center’s website at www.SCFTA.org or by visiting or calling the Box Office.

Tickets are available for purchase online at www.SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket savings of 10 or more, please call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236.

All images courtesy of Segerstrom Center of the Arts.

Celebrating a Birthday at Irvine Spectrum Center and Storymakery

Irvine Spectrum Kids Birthday Club

Did you know the Irvine Spectrum Center has a Birthday Club for kids?  There are so many great places to celebrate a birthday there!  Last week, we kicked off LittleGray’s birthday week by having Afternoon Tea at the Hello Kitty Cafe Bow Room.  She wanted a low key celebration on her actual birthday, do something creative, and “make something”.  We had walked by Storymakery several times (especially since it’s conveniently located by Target), but we had never actually been inside.  Since this is a place where kids can create, write, and publish their own book, I thought this would be the perfect birthday surprise for our little storyteller.  The Irvine Spectrum Center assisted in helping us plan our birthday day by giving us ride tickets for our family, and Storymakery provided our experience for free for this article.

Irvine Spectrum Birthday Club

Irvine Spectrum Birthday Club

 

On any day of the month of your child’s birthday, you can pick up a Birthday Button at the kiosk by the Grand Wheel (located outside of Nordstrom).  You can register online (they will email you to remind you to redeem your Birthday Club package) or walk up in person to sign up for the program.

What do you get?  With the birthday button, the birthday kid receives unlimited rides on the Grand Wheel and Carousel.  Unfortunately, the other members of the party will still need tickets to get on the rides.  If the child is a under a certain height, a supervising adult may ride for free.  Along with the birthday button, you receive coupons from a few places in the Spectrum.  We redeemed the coupon for a free dessert pizza at Pieology and it was so delicious!  You’ll even get a $10 coupon for Storymakery in the pack!

While you’re at the Irvine Spectrum, be sure to check out the kids playground located right outside of Target.  Nearby are the best bathrooms in the family lounge.  The entrance to the Family Lounge is near the play structure across from the entrance of The Afters Ice Cream shop.

Storymakery

Storymakery is the first self-publishing experience for families and kids.  The only location is at the Irvine Spectrum center so this is truly a unique experience.  At Storymakery, kids work with a Host to write a story from start to finish.  We got to do the “Storytale Express” package which is geared for younger kids who don’t have a ton of experience writing long stories.

The Storytale Express begins with creating a main character and customizing it on their touch screen computers.  There are a variety of different themes to fit every child’s interest.  After the character is complete, the host works closely with the kids to write their story.  They ask questions bout the characters, what should happen next, and how to add supporting descriptive details.  Since the host takes the kids’ ideas and types up the entire story, it takes about a day for the books to be printed and bound.  You can pick up the books in store, or they can be shipped for a small fee.  You don’t leave the shop emptyhanded on the first day–your main character is printed on a keepsake poster which you can take home on the day you create your story.

Whats Included in the Different Packages?

Storymakery prices

Storytale Express

  • $45 for softcover, $50 hardcover
  • Approximately 30-40 minutes
  • Recommended for preschool age or for those who are low on time
  • One on One time with the host to assist plot development
  • Custom Character poster
  • Unlimited Character Creation

Storytale Workshop

  • $75, includes hardcover book
  • Approximately 2 hours
  • Recommended ages 5 and up
  • one and one time with host to assist with story creation
  • more in depth lesson on how to write a compelling story
  • plush toy
  • custom character poster
  • unlimited character creation

Imagination Kid Workshop

  • $97.50, includes hardcover book
  • Approximately 2 hours
  • Recommended ages 5 and up
  • Includes everything in the Storytale Workshop PLUS a printed shirt with the child’s main character

Something to note:  parents can drop off their kids for any of these programs at no additional cost!  Enjoy kid-free time at the Irvine Spectrum Center!  Also, don’t forget about the $10 coupon that is included as part of the Irvine Spectrum Center Birthday Club!

Additional Storymakery Programs

Storymakery Writers Workshop

Birthday Party Packages start at just $200 for a group of 6 guests.  Parties are customizable with optional add ons like food and party favors.  More information about birthday parties can be found at storymakery.com.  They will also be hosting a series of drop off Summer Camps that vary from all day or half day.  Kids will learn about writing composition and take home a few books throughout the week.  More information about Summer Camps can be found here.

Is it Worth It?

Storymakery Irvine Spectrum

At first glance, it might seem like a lot to pay $45 for a paperback book.  But when you factor in the entire experience, character creation, the hour long session with the host, and the pride that your child gets when that book is placed in their hands, that experience is priceless.  LittleGray is at the age where she wants to write stories all day long, and it is really special to see her name as the published author of this book (yes, its officially published!).  It gave her a sense of power and control to create all the characters to her exact specifications and it was so neat to see them come to life on the pages.  I feel like the price is on par with similar “creation activities” like Build a Bear, Color Me Mine, etc.  The $10 off birthday coupon makes this an exceptionally good value as well.  We ended up inviting her best friend to come with us and bought a package for her which was something fun for the girls to do together.  They also offer gift cards in case aunties or grandparents would like to chip in for a bigger package.

More information about Storymakery can be found on their website.  A full video of the entire Storymakery process can be found hereHuge thank you to Storymakery and Irvine Spectrum Center for sponsoring our day!

 

The Bow Room Birthday Celebration at Hello Kitty Grand Cafe at Irvine Spectrum Center

Birthdays at Hello Kitty Cafe

Pink, sweets, and HELLO KITTY–all things that my daughters dream of!  We are lucky to be local to the Irvine Spectrum Center which is conveniently located where the 5 and 405 meet in Orange County.  We visited the Hello Kitty Truck when it was just a temporary fixture and have been to the new permanent Hello Kitty Grand Cafe located by the Grand Wheel for pastries and drinks.  But did you know there is an entire exclusive tea party room behind that elusive white Bow Door?  We are so grateful to Hello Kitty Cafe and Irvine Spectrum Center for providing these services for free for our family so we could celebrate LittleGray’s birthday!

Hello Kitty Grand Cafe

I was researching unique birthday celebration ideas in Orange County and Afternoon Tea at the Bow Room felt like the perfect special occasion spot.  The girls felt so special as they were escorted past the Bow Door into a pink room decorated with the finest Hello Kitty decor.  The table was set with Hello Kitty dishes and everything was so Kawaii!  We had a reservation for 5 people and our group had the entire room to ourselves.  It was the perfect environment to catch up and have a private birthday party just for LittleGray.

The Bow Room Afternoon Tea Experience

Hello Kitty Cafe Treat tier

When we were seated, our host asked us if we were celebrating anything and if we had any food allergies.  She also went over the tea selection and let the girls know they could also get lemonade or strawberry lemonade instead of tea.  We chose lychee peach, pomegranate green, and the birthday tea which was a blend of raspberries and hibiscus.  I definitely recommending each person picking a different flavor tea since they come in big Hello Kitty pots meant for sharing.  The tea was served with the cutest Hello Kitty shaped pink sugar!

The first course was fresh strawberries in chocolate whipped cream.  LittleGray got a special birthday edition with a birthday cake design on top while the rest of us got the classic Hello Kitty design.  They were huge and the girls had a hard time finishing!

Next up was the main event:  the Hello Kitty tier of treats!  I wasn’t aware of this going in, but the tea sets are only served in multiples of two.  Even though we had five people, we only got 4 of each pastry.  Since the girls shared some of the items, we didn’t have a shortage of food and even had some to take home.  They do have options for dietary restrictions if you notify them in advance.  A couple of the items had tree nuts (almonds) but we were able to eat around them.  Here’s a quick rundown of the treats that were offered:

  • cucumber sandwich with dill cream cheese on a Hello Kitty milk bread
  • creamy egg salad in a miniature cone
  • pesto tart with mozzarella and tomato
  • buttermilk scone served with jam and Hello Kitty butter
  • Hello Kitty raspberry and almond mini cake
  • raspberry macaron
  • lemon tart with Hello Kitty white chocolate
  • miniature chocolate cake with Hello Kitty Chocolate

Our Afternoon tea ended with a palate cleansing lemon flavored Hello Kitty gummy.  We made sure to box up all our leftovers so we could enjoy Hello Kitty at home!

Hello Kitty Grand Cafe

If you don’t want to reserve the full Bow Room Afternoon Tea experience, you can also visit the front part of the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe for free without reservations.  There, you can purchase a variety of sweets and drinks to-go.  They are best known for their hot mini donuts made fresh in store!  For birthdays past, we’ve gotten the signature square cake that is covered with sprinkles.  The walls are beautifully decorated for the perfect instagram pic and there’s even a Hello Kitty statue to pose with as well!

Bow Room Cocktail Service

Hello Kitty Cafe Floor

On select evenings, the Bow Room gets transformed into a 21+ cocktail lounge.  This is a separate experience from the Bow Room Afternoon Tea, so unfortunately you can not order signature cocktails during the Afternoon Tea (other alcoholic beverages like mimosas and champagne are available during Afternoon Tea for an additional fee).  I’m hoping to return to the Bow Room for the Cocktail service for an adults only night out!

Know Before You Go

Hello Kitty Cafe HELLO

  • It’s best to make reservations in advance for the Afternoon Tea in the Bow Room so you can ensure service at your preferred time.  Some walk ins may be accommodated on a first come first serve basis.
  • The Afternoon Tea experience is $55 a person (no discounts for children).  Children 3 and younger are complimentary, but they will not get a dedicated seat or serving.  Most places had booth seating on at least one side of the table so it would be very easy to fit in a toddler.
  • The tiered tea treat service is only served in multiples of two.  This means if you have an odd number of people, they will round down to the next multiple of two.  For example, even though we had 5 people, we only got 4 of each treat.
  • The entire experience is about 45 minutes to an hour long.  The Bow Room does close around 4:00 so they can transform the space for Cocktail Service.
  • Food allergies (gluten, nuts, etc.) can be accommodated, but be sure to let them know when you check in.
  • Some alcoholic beverages like mimosas and champagne are available during the Afternoon Tea for an additional fee.  Tea or lemonades are included in the price.
  • The Bow Room is located in the secret back portion of the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe.  The closest parking lot at the Irvine Spectrum is by Nordstrom.  When you arrive, walk straight through Nordstrom until you get to the huge white Great ferris Wheel.  The Hello Kitty Grand Cafe is to the right of the wheel if your back is to Nordstrom.
  • There is one restroom located inside the Bow Room.  Be sure to visit it because it is super cute!
  • Exclusive merchandise is available at the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe.  You do not need a reservation to shop or get pastries and drinks to-go.

Hello Kitty Cafe LittleGrayThread

This was the perfect way to kick off LittleGray’s birthday week!  Huge thank you to Hello Kitty Cafe and Irvine Spectrum for hosting us.  More information about the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe can be found at sanrio.com.

Kids Guide to Catalina Island Day Trips from Orange County or Los Angeles

Catalina Avalon LittleGrayThread Family

The first time we visited Catalina Island was for my husband’s 25th birthday.  We were excited because 25 was the magic age of being able to rent a car and golf cart.  A few years later, we returned to try snorkeling–five minutes into our 2 hour rental I got big by a huge bass fish with blood dripping down my arm.  I didn’t go back in the water.  The girls have never been to Catalina Island and we were looking for unique daytrips to fill up our spring break and summer months.  Huge thank you to the Catalina Island Company who planned out the perfect day itinerary for kids under 5–our family was able to experience these excursions for free in exchange for an honest review.

Catalina Island Fast Facts

Catalina Avalon Seal

Catalina Island is the name of the entire island, but the town itself is called the city of Avalon (this might come in handy when looking up tourism information).  There is also Two Harbors which is the mountainous north side of the island.  You can get to the island by taking a ferry from either Newport Beach (Catalina Flyer), Long Beach, San Pedro, or Dana Point (Catalina Express)–there are a few departure and return times throughout the day.  You can choose to stay overnight or return on the same day.  We decided to stick with a day trip since most hotels require a 2 night stay during peak season, and we wanted the flexibility of being able to go home to our dog without having to get a dog sitter.

When you think about Catalina Island, most people think of golf carts and buffalo.  I really wanted to take the girls to see the wild buffalo that roam in the hills, but all of the tours are for kids ages 5 and up.  Luckily, the golf cart self guided tours are geared for children of all ages (more on that later).  We had never visited with kids before, so we were also excited to check out Mini golf, Descanso Beach, and the Undersea Expedition Voyage.

Getting there on the Catalina Express

Catalina Express Dana Point

The Catalina Express has three port locations:  San Pedro, Long Beach, and Dana Point.  There is a different company called the Catalina Flyer that has a port in Newport Beach.  We are local to south Orange County so we decided depart from Dana Point.  It was super convenient and saved us the long trip to drive to Los Angeles.

Catalina Express Dana Point Ferry

Once we arrived in Dana Point Harbor, we checked in with the Catalina Express who gave us further parking instructions.  Parking is $14 a day and they will give you a pass to put in your car.  Our departure time was 7:45am, and we arrived around 7:00 with ample time to spare.  There are a couple of local coffee shops open right around the departure harbor which was a godsend.

We boarded the boat around 7:30.  Pro tip:  start lining up near the ship around 7:20 to ensure a good seat.  LittleSage in particular LOVED standing outside the front door to look for whales and to feel the strong wind on her face.  On the way back, we made sure to get a seat in the front cabin so she wasn’t going back and forth down the aisles.  If you would rather not be by an open door, find a place in the main cabin.  I would would suggest bringing a lap blanket because it can be very drafty.

Catalina Express Dana Point Avalon

Both LittleGray and I suffer from extreme motion sickness and I know that this is a common setback for many people.  We took Bonine first thing in the morning which is supposed to be less drowsy than Dramamine.  I also have the wristbands which help, but with a long boat trip (duration is about an hour) I didn’t want to take any chances.  The medicine lasts 24 hours so one pill was enough for the entire day.

Mini Golf

Catalina Island Golf LittleGrayThread

We arrived in Avalon around 9:00 and we headed straight to Mini Golf.  As we walked through the town that was just waking up, I definitely got some Mediterranean vacation vibes.  The colorful buildings on the hillsides and boats swaying in the water were absolutely gorgeous.  The Mini Golf location was a short walk right in the center of the main artery of Avalon.  Staying true to the aesthetics of the island, this was the most beautiful mini golf course I’ve ever been on.  Each hole was themed to a different aspect of the island.  The grounds were perfectly manicured and I found myself wanting to take photos against the gorgeous foliage.

Catalina Island Golf Family

This was the girls’ first time mini golfing so we didn’t take it too seriously.  They had a great time tapping their golf balls along the course almost pool style.  Luckily the other guests around us were good sports.  The entire course took us about a hour to complete.

Descanso Beach

Catalina Island Descanso Beach Chairs

Next on our itinerary was lunch at Descanso Beach which is located on the furthermost pedestrian point past the Casino Building.  This is probably the longest walk you’ll take on the island, but it was still only about a 20 minute walk.  We took our stroller with us and it was an easy stroll.

The Descanso Beach Club is a serene stretch of beach that also hosts a full restaurant, cabanas, and beach chairs.  This is the only place where you can have a drink in your hand with your toes in the sand.  We sat at in the open air restaurant to order lunch, but the girls were able to explore freely in the sand while we waited for our food and drinks.

We started with smoothies and they even split one in two cups for the girls while they played in the sand.  On the menu, they have a few historic Catalina Island dishes.  I opted for the prime rib sandwich which I highly recommend!  This sandwich was originally served in 1930.  The girls got pizza and a cheeseburger off the kids menu and my husband had the taco trio.

Undersea Expedition

Catalina Island Green Pier Underwater Adventure

A huge part of the Catalina Island culture is the marine life.  The most notable are the bright orange Garibaldi fish that can also be seen from the shore.  The best way to fully experience the fish is by one of the boat tours that will take you to the protected fish area.  I opted for the semi-submarine Undersea Expedition instead of the Glass Bottom Boat–for the glass bottom boat, you are seated above the water and view the fish looking down through a see through floor.  The submarine experience allows you an underwater view through huge portholes while sitting upright.  Since we took our motion sickness medicine earlier in the day, I didn’t have to worry about anyone getting seasick.

The beginning part of the tour occurs inside the boat where you will see hundreds of thousands of fish.  Helpful signs inside the sub help you identify fish, but the guide will also explain the different species.  They also feed the fish so you get a really unique view of them all swarming against the glass.  The second part of the tour happens on the outside upper deck of the boat where you have views of the Casino building while looking for other sea life like seals and birds.  This tour departs and returns from the iconic green dock–if you’re not sure where to check in, ask anyone who looks like they know what they’re talking about.  Everyone was super friendly and pointed me in the right direction even when I was talking to the wrong company.

Catalina Island Undersea Expedition top deck boat

Golf Cart Tours

Catalina Island Golf Cart LittleGrayThread

You can’t go to Catalina Island and not rent a golf cart.  Since cars are a rare commodity on the island, most people get around via golf cart.  We’ve always rented golf carts through Catalina Island Golf Cart which is located on the edge of the main pedestrian walkway.  They have 4 and 6 person golf carts and provide car seats for your little ones.  When you sign up for one, you are required to give a $50 deposit in cash, and pay for the first $50 hour with either cash or credit card.  If you return within one hour, you get your $50 cash deposit back.  If you choose to stay out for 2 hours (trust me, you’ll probably take the full 2 hours), you don’t owe anything else.  Another thing to note is that everyone who wants to drive must be 25 years or older and have a valid drivers license.

When you check out, they will give you a map that shows you the best route to take on your self guided tour.  There are a ton of one way streets on the island, but they make it as tourist friendly as possible with signs leading you the right direction.  Since this is completely self paced, you can pull over as many times as you want to take pictures or switch drivers.  There are two main loops to the trail, both of which offer birds eye view of the Casino and water below.  If you really want to stick to the one hour rental, I would skip the second loop.

If you do choose to do the second loop, it will take you down to the Descanso Beach area.  You can grab a snack or a smoothie and use your golf cart to drive you there and back instead of walking.  Another great stop is the Nature Center which is free and open to the public.  This is located along the path to the Botanical Gardens.  The girls loved learning about the different local animals through their hands on activities.  They also have clean public restrooms so this is a perfect place to have a pit stop.

Lloyd’s Ice Cream

After we returned the golf cart, we were given samples of Lloyd’s hand pulled taffy from the ice cream and candy shop located a few doors down.  We had been passing by this sweet shop all day smelling the fresh made waffle cones.  They have a huge selection of vintage and bulk candy, coffee drinks, pastries, and hand scooped ice cream.

Souvenirs

We had some time to kill before our boat left, so it was shopping time!  There are several cute stores along the main pedestrian path.  Items range from boutique clothing to novelty keychains and magnets.  It was my personal mission to find the cheapest stuffed buffalo on the island and it just so happened that I found it in the first store we went into.  So if your child is also wanting a stuffed buffalo, save yourself the search and head straight to Leo’s drugstore–well worth the $6.95!  A lot of stores closed at 5:00, and I was bummed that I missed out on going to my favorite Del Sol store specializing in color changing items.  Other popular souvenirs were gold tipped seashells (we got a few!), beach toys, and seashell shark tooth necklaces.

Itinerary

Below is what our personal itinerary was which worked well for our family.  If I were to change one thing, I would go to Descanso Beach after the golf cart so the girls could spend the extra time playing on the beach while we relaxed on those white chairs.

  • 7:45am:  Depart Dana Point on the Catalina Expres
  • 9:00am:  Arrive in Avalon
  • 9:30am:  Mini Golf
  • 11:00am:  Lunch at Descanso Beach
  • 1:00pm:  Undersea Expedition (check in at 12:45)
  • 2:00pm:  2 hour golf cart rental with Catalina Golf cart
  • 4:00pm:  afternoon snack at Lloyd’s
  • 4:30-6:30:  souvenir shopping and relaxing
  • 6:45pm:  depart Avalon (check in at 6:30pm)

Know Before You Go

IMG_1290

Especially with a day trip, your family will be up super early to catch that boat ride over, and you’ll have spent the entire day outdoors.  This can be especially draining for kids, so if you can swing to book a hotel for a multi-day vacation, I definitely recommend it.  Just having a home base to go to in the middle of the day would be very helpful especially for young children.  Luckily, our kids are used to life on the go and kept their spirits high throughout the entire day.  I was surprised when they didn’t even fall asleep on the boat ride home!

Catalina Island green Pier surf

Bathrooms.  There are several public restrooms that are super clean located throughout the island.  The main bathrooms are located on the green pier and are not your typical “beach side bathroom”.  The restrooms by Descanso Beach are also immaculate.  If you’re on the golf cart tour, I definitely recommend stopping by the Nature Center for their facilities.

What to Wear and Bring

Catalina Island Casino

The island itself is full of beautiful pastel buildings and pops of bright colors.  The foliage is a mix of Jurassic Park lush and desert cacti.  I decided to make the girls maxi dresses last minute that gave off some resort style vibes.  I paired a simple chambray with vibrant pops of red and green.  This contrasted nicely with the turquoise accents from the architecture on the island.

Catalina Island Golf Cart Cacti

Since I knew we were going to have a pretty full itinerary (and it was going to be in the low 60s that day), I left all our beach stuff at home.  If your kids are going to want to get in the water, definitely bring towels, sunscreen, and a change of clothes with you.  The weather typically is 10 degrees colder on the island, and I almost didn’t bring enough warm clothes for all of us (we almost had to buy I Heart Catalina Island sweatshirts).  I wish I brought a blanket to use on the boat ride and on the golf cart tour.  Definitely bring at least $100 in cash.  The golf cart deposit can only be paid in cash and most stores have a credit card minimum.

Is it Worth It?

Catalina Island Descanso Beach Casino View

Yes!  Sure, the boat trip over and all the excursions are a little pricier than what we would typically spend on a Saturday activity, but I was wanting to plan a special stay-day-cation without the huge time commitment of a full fledged vacation.  It definitely felt like we were in another country apart from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles and Orange County.  It almost felt that Avalon was a city frozen time with its iconic colorful buildings and succulent landscaping.  Everywhere I looked was an aesthetic background and I resisted the urge of having everyone pose every 15 feet for a new photo.  The marine life is so special to see and sparked the girls’ love for animals.  It’s a bummer that we couldn’t see the buffalo yet since LittleSage isn’t 5 yet, but that just gives us an excuse to visit next year!

Catalina LittleGrayThread

Huge thank you to the Catalina Island Company, Catalina Express, Catalina Island Golf Cart, Lloyd’s, and Descanso Beach Club for sponsoring our stay.  For more Los Angeles and Orange County travels, follow us on Instagram @LittleGrayThread.